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Ong Ye Kung: “O”-level syllabus now includes jazz, popular music and music in multimedia

Singapore's "O"-level music syllabus begins to come of age.

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Singapore – Music lovers, make some noise! Jazz, popular music and music multimedia have been included in the “O”-level music syllabus, says Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Speaking at the finale concert for the Lion City Youth Jazz Festival held at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre on May 18 (Saturday) , Ong said that the “O”-level music syllabus had been modified.

New areas of study, in addition to the existing Asian music and western classical tradition, have been included in the curriculum to widen the exposure that students get.

“Jazz will be featured in the “O”-level syllabus, and within jazz, (students) get to appreciate all the sub-genres,” said the education minister, explaining that students will also get to learn about jazz musicians such as American great Louis Armstrong as well as Singapore’s King of Swing Jeremy Monteiro.

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According to a report by The Straits Times, the ministry said the changes would create new openings for students in the post-secondary and tertiary musical course, and widen career possibilities in the creative arts such as music production, interactive digital media, and animation and film.

Ong noted that the education ministry’s new approach to the subject of the arts is diverse and inclusive: “In literature as well, you don’t just learn about Shakespeare, but also Haresh Sharma (a Singaporean playwright).

“In art – as in painting – you don’t just learn about Leonardo and Monet, but also Liu Kang (a popular Singaporean artist known for his Balinese-themed figurative paintings),” he added.

The education ministry will “better cater to the students’ diverse musical interests and backgrounds” by featuring local art form in the syllabus.

“It’s a coming of age for Singapore, both understanding ourselves and our own art form, and I think that’s the right way to go,” said Ong.

“Students will also be able to draw more connections and links from a richer spread of musical contexts through listening, creating and performing.”

Students in the four-year Music Elective Programme, two-year Enhanced Music Programme, and two-year O-level Music Course at the upper secondary levels can partake in the new syllabus.

The first year of examinations for such students is 2020.

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